Monday, August 02, 2010

Delaware Vulnerable Users Bill to become Law

Delaware Governor Jack Markell will be signing the Vulnerable Road Users Bill into law on Thursday August 12th at 12:00 PM at Paper Mill Park, Polly Drummond and Paper Mill Roads, Pike Creek, DE.

SB 269 amends the careless or inattentive driving law by enhancing the penalty for a careless or inattentive driver who contributes to the serious physical injury of a vulnerable user in a public right of way. Delaware is only the fourth state in the nation to pass such a bill and barring unforeseen circumstances the third state in which the bill will become law. Vermont adopted the law in May while Oregon passed a law in 2007. The Texas legislature passed a bill in 2009-only to have it vetoed by Governor Perry. State legislatures in Virginia and California voted down bills in their respective states.

The SB 269 was fashioned after the Oregon Law which is broken up into two sections. ORS 801.608 defines a “vulnerable user” and ORS 811.135 describes additional penalties for careless driving when vulnerable users are affected.

Codifying and defining vulnerable road users, is in itself a huge step forward. Requiring police to note that a vulnerable user was seriously injured or killed in their reports should help raise awareness among law enforcement and the courts that pedestrians and bicyclists are legitimate road users and are entitled to legal protections.

Many thanks to the bills sponsors - Delaware State Senator Sokola and Representative Barbieri
along with Co-sponsors Sen. Bunting and Reps. Bennett, Carson, Hudson, Jaques, Miro, Schooley, D. Short, Walls & Brady